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Another signal of the growing attention being paid to the streaming video sector, and specifically the growing emphasis on made-for-web content: online video network Blip.tv announced a $12-million round of funding, and a rebranding. Now it’s known simply as “Blip.”
The round of funding includes participation from existing investors Bain Capital and Canaan Parters, as well as debt from Silicon Valley Bank, and takes total funding in Blip to $24.5 million: a Series A of $8 million; Series B of $10.1 million; and this last Series C of $6.5 million, plus the $6 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank — technically more of a financial tool rather than equity round.
Blip, which focuses on original web-only content, claims to have 13 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S., with 30 million users globally, with 330 million video views per month, with 70 million of those counted as “monetizable views,” according to a spokesperson. Effectively that means videos against which it can sell ads. It syndicates its content to a number of other platforms such as iTunes, YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), Facebook, Twitter, Roku, Verizon FiOS, TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) TVs.
Its usage, however, is still a far throw from YouTube’s, which had nearly 160 million monthly uniques in the U.S. alone in December, according to comScore.
Blip says that it will use the funding to develop more tools and services for web series producers, as well as further investment in its advertising and distribution platforms.
Why the rebranding? Blip says it is to distinguish itself better from so-called premium content brands like TV networks that have made the migration to online streaming.
The making to web-original content is also something being chased by bigger players, too, as they look to create more video inventory and attract ever more users for premium-rate online video advertising. YouTube has embarked on a massive drive to create more channels in partnership with third parties, and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) announced in January a deal with Tom Hanks to create an animated series, Electric City.
Still, business is going in the right direction for Blip, which says that revenues at the company were up by 100 percent in 2011.